By STEVEN VAUGHAN, 750 THE GAME
It’s always bittersweet when a program loses a coordinator to become a head coach. The team was successful on the field which is great, but now you have to replace that coach.
Oregon knows all about this as Kenny Dillingham is the head coach at Arizona State after he helped lead the Ducks offense a season ago.
The Ducks haven’t missed a beat; according to betonline.ag, Bo Nix is the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy and the Ducks are right in the thick of the CFP race. But Dillingham and the Sun Devils will be hosting Oregon and Dan Lanning this week down in Tempe.
Dan Lanning was asked about Dillingham’s impact on Bo Nix coming to Oregon and Lanning knows Dillingham deserves a lot of credit.
“Kenny was a huge part of that,” Lanning said at his weekly press conference. “They had a relationship before he (Nix) got here and that certainly paid dividends for us in getting Bo to be a part of our program.”
Even though Arizona State is only 3-7 on the season, the Sun Devils do have two conference victories and have been in battles against USC and Washington this season. Even though Arizona State isn’t supremely talented, Dillingham is getting the best out of his team. And he is doing it in unorthodox ways.
“I think it’s clear that Kenny and his staff can think outside of the box,” said Lanning. “Kenny’s just like me. We were both high school coaches before when you have different personnel you try to figure out how to utilize them the most and try to create something your opponent hasn’t prepared for. He was able to point some things on film that other teams haven’t prepared for and I expect him to give us some of that too. It’s going to be about us being able to in-game adjust.”
Lanning says he always knew that once Dillingham took the job at ASU that he was going to be successful.
“Watching them play he’s doing exactly what I anticipated him being able to do,” Lanning said. “Bringing energy to a program. Thinking of ways to win in innovative ways. I’m seeing a lot of those same traits that I expected to see from him. We’ve certainly been in contact this season. This week we’ll probably talk a little bit less.”
It’s not supposed to be a challenging game for the Ducks. But anytime you play against one of your former coordinators, the game is special.
Oregon is a 24-point road favorite on Saturday according to betonline.ag and will return home the following week to host rival Oregon State at Autzen Stadium on Fri. Nov. 24th.